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News / Clark County News

Property owner says he’s rethinking adventure park in Skamania County; ‘we’ve done a complete reset’

Nonprofit skeptical about Derek Hoyte’s stated plans

By Doug Flanagan, Camas-Washougal Post-Record
Published: November 18, 2023, 6:10am

A Skamania County property owner who this year proposed building an adventure park on his 150-acre site says he is rethinking the project after receiving criticism from West End neighbors.

“We had some ideas that we were exploring last summer, but we’ve done a complete reset … and there is no solid proposal for anything at this point in time,” Derek Hoyte told the Post-Record from the site of his zipline company in Maui, Hawaii. “All of it is in draft mode. We have obviously received a lot of feedback, which has impacted any potential plans that we were considering and put them in a different light.”

Hoyte said he purchased the 150-acre plot of land located at 4101 Canyon Creek Road in 2022 as an investment property, but also as a potential home site.

“If we do move forward with anything, I would want to do it in cooperation with the neighbors and their concerns,” Hoyte said. “I want everybody to consider me as a good neighbor and to realize that I do care.”

Members of Preserving Washougal and West End Rural Character, a nonprofit established this year to educate and advocate for the preservation of the Washougal watershed as well as to raise funds for legal and outreach costs, said they do not believe Hoyte’s claims that he’s backing away from the project.

“Had this community been unsuccessful in activating Department of Natural Resources and Department of Ecology, leading to the Skamania County ‘cease and desist’ order, and now the moratorium for recreational facilities, which in combination managed to delay his ability to submit an application for a permit for the adventure park, he likely would have one in place,” group president Mary Grode, director George Perry, treasurer Keith Brown and secretary Sarah Perry said in a joint statement.

Hoyte was briefly jailed in 2009 after Skamania County officials discovered he was operating six ziplines without permits on 83 acres of land he owned in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.

In 2010, the U.S. Attorney’s Office sued Hoyte in federal court in Tacoma, claiming the U.S. Forest Service confirmed reports that Hoyte had reinstalled ziplines on the property and was constructing a suspension bridge without permission, according to a 2010 report by The Oregonian.

In March 2022, four Haiku, Hawaii, residents sued Hoyte’s NorthShore Zipline Co., alleging he “knowingly and intentionally disregard(ed) their concerns about noise, invasion of privacy and emotional distress,” according to a report by mauinews.com.

“(We) wonder how Mr. Hoyte defines ‘good neighbor,’” the group’s board stated. “Actions speak louder than words, and his past and most recent actions, such as running bulldozing equipment at night and into the wee hours of the morning, have been documented, and unfortunately do not depict behaviors of a good neighbor.”